In an op-ed for Forbes, the CEO and president for Levi Strauss & Co., Chip Bergh, explained why his company will do its part to tackle gun violence in the United States.
They will do so by funding the “work of nonprofits and youth activists who are working to end gun violence in America” and by partnering with pro-gun control groups, such as Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords.
— Levi Strauss & Co. (@LeviStraussCo) September 4, 2018
“As president and CEO of a values-driven company that’s known the world over as a pioneer of the American West and one of the great symbols of American freedom, I take the responsibility of speaking up on the important issues of our day very seriously,” Bergh wrote.
He continued to say that although the decision may be unpopular, Levi had to do something:
We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work. While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option.
That’s why Levi Strauss & Co. is stepping up our support for gun violence prevention. You may wonder why a company that doesn’t manufacture or sell guns is wading into this issue, but for us, it’s simple. Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence. It’s an issue that affects all of us—all generations and all walks of life.
“I know that Americans, including many of our own consumers, employees, and other partners, hold a wide spectrum of views related to guns. I’m not here to suggest we repeal the Second Amendment or to suggest that gun owners aren’t responsible,” he added, pointing out he had served in the Army as an officer, certain guns should not be available to civilians.
Bergh then compared the anticipated unpopular decision to when Levi desegregated their factories in the south:
As a company, we have never been afraid to take an unpopular stand to support a greater good. We integrated our factories in the American South years before the Civil Rights Act was passed. We offered benefits to same-sex partners in the 1990s, long before most companies did. We pulled our financial support for the Boy Scouts of America when it banned gay troop leaders.
While each one of these stands may have been controversial at the time, history proved the company right in the long run. And I’m convinced that while some will disagree with our stand to end gun violence, history will prove this position right too.
“Our country has faced seemingly intractable issues like this before, but together we’ve overcome them. We can do it again. Together we can put an end to the gun violence epidemic in America,” Bergh concluded.